Monarch became the first airline to remove the now popular percentage charge on debit card payments recently, lifting their 3.5 per cent charge of the booking total with immediate effect. Consumer group Which? and the Office of Fair Trading are saying that the steps taken by Monarch may put pressure on other airlines to follow suit.
The removal of the charges follows a recent spate of complaints from consumers for debit card charges deemed as unfair to be scrapped. A Which? spokesperson said: ‘Over 42,000 people have told us they want to see an end to excessive card fees, so it’s great to see that Monarch is scrapping charges for debit card payments’.
Monarch is also increasing their credit card charge from a minimum of £5.49 to a flat fee of £10. It is thought that these changes will provide clear and transparent information to customers with regards to exactly what they will be charged for booking a holiday or flight with their plastic.
Which? Travel spokesperson Rochelle Turner went on to say that the ‘cost to businesses for taking payment by debit card is a matter of pennies, so there’s simply no justification for excessive fees. We’d like to see others follow in the footsteps of Monarch and stop using processing costs to boost their profits’.
The practice of charging fees for booking with plastic is becoming more and more widespread – not just in the travel industry – with many other businesses such as hotels, shops and cinemas getting in on the act.
Recently, budget airline Ryanair began charging £5 per passenger each way for booking with a debit card. It remains to be seen whether Monarch will be alone in the removal of these profiteering costs.